I've had my 9800 GT for a while now. It didn't come stock with my PC and I bought it about a month after I got this HP. The stock card was a 9600 GS.
Never had a problem with it up until now. I started my favorite game (Napoleon: Total War) and it started fine. I loaded one of my campaigns and a few seconds into the game it locked up, crazy stuff flew all over the screen and the game closed. I got a windows notice about a driver failing then recovering. So I decided to update my Drivers from nvidia.com. I updated to the latest driver, restarted my PC and it was loading fine until it actually loaded the OS. The screen was just lines and it began the whole restart process again. It would never load the OS so I was just stuck in an endless cycle.
That's when I turned my PC off and replaced the card with my 9600 GS. Now I am able to load my PC up and it works. But I noticed damage to two of the sivler cylinders on my 9800 GT. one of them is slightly cracked while the other had been busted open. I don't know what they are but this is recent because I never noticed it before. What's happened? Is this the reason for the errors and is it permanent?